RIP Doug Engelbart. Computer Scientist, human, inventor, visionary, deliverer of ‘the Mother of All Demos’

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Doug Engelbart, inventor, visionary and apparently all round good guy, died yesterday aged 88. He will probably be most remembered for inventing the computer mouse though his legacy is much more significant than that – this is a nice appreciation from Bret Victor – that explains the problem of describing someone’s contribution to humanity in terms of a single object they created…

“Technology writers, in particular, tend to miss the point miserably, because they see everything as a technology problem. Engelbart devoted his life to a human problem, with technology falling out as part of a solution. When I read tech writers’ interviews with Engelbart, I imagine these writers interviewing George Orwell, asking in-depth probing questions about his typewriter.

If you want a sense of the man, his achievements and legacy, take a look at this live demonstration of a computer that Doug Engelbert delivered in front of an audience of 2,000 people with his team at Stanford Research Institute.

It was made on December 9th, 1968.

On the shoulders of giants…